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Ghost Canyon

Title - The Complete Collection [4CD]
Artist - The Piranhas

For those unaware, The Piranhas: The Complete Collection [4CD] (releasing September 17, 2021) is a very much long overdue round up of pretty much everything recorded by legendary Brighton Ska-Pop-Punk outfit The Piranhas.

The Piranhas formed in 1977, and were originally part of the Brighton punk scene, first coming to prominence when DJ John Peel started playing their single I Donít Want My Body on his BBC Radio 1 program, but achieved their biggest success with their cover version of the South African kwela song Tom Hark.

This had been an instrumental hit in 1958 for Elias & His Zig Zag Jive Flutes, and had already been covered in a ska style by Millie Small and by Georgie Fame on his 1964 EP Rhythm & Blue-Beat.

With new lyrics written by the bandís front man Boring Bob Grover (allegedly en route to the recording studio), and with Pete Waterman on executive production duties, it was a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1980.

It was the first song to feature on BBC Televisionís pop music program, Top of the Pops, when it returned in 1980 after being blacked out for nine weeks by industrial action.

During the obviously mimed performance the drummer played using a pair of plastic fish as drumsticks and much later it also became a popular chant amongst British football fans.

It is also popular at limited-overs cricket games, often being played when a boundary is hit, and the tune was also used in the novelty World Cup song Weíre England, performed by the presenters of the radio station talkSPORT with adapted lyrics for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals.

Two years later the bandís version of Lou Buschís Zambesi - produced by Pete Collins - was a Top 20 hit in the UK Singles Chart.

Making its debut on CD on Disc 1 is the bandís sole self-titled album which reached #69 in the UK National Charts in 1980. Included on the album is the Top Ten hit Tom Hark and also featured as bonus cuts are the Space Invaders and I Donít Want My Body singles.

Disc One: Piranhas
1. GETTING BEATEN UP 2. PLEASURE 3. DO YOU?
4. SAXOPHONE
5. LOVE GAME
6. TOM HARK
7. TENSION
8. FIDDLING WHILE BABYLON BURNS
9. GREEN DONíT SUIT ME
10. SOMETHING
11. COFFEE
12. I DONíT WANT MY BODY
13. FINAL STRAW
Bonus Tracks
14. BOYFRIEND
15. (IíM GONNA GET) WELL AWAY
16. I DONíT WANT MY BODY (SINGLE VERSION)
17. SPACE INVADERS
18. CHEAP íN NASTY (LIVE)

On their sole long-player in September, 1980, The Piranhas unleashed a slice of that popular and fashionable second wave of SKA action that was still just oh-so easy to sell.

The albumís lead single, Tom Hark, a cracking cover of an old South African hit by Elias and His Zig-Zag Jive Flutes in 1956 and now complete with some hurriedly written lyrics en route from Brighton to London for the recording session, soon became a bona fide hit.

Getting Beaten Up opens the album, complete with a message which absolutely resonated with me in the early í80s as a schoolboy - getting beaten up is part of growing up - and where the album lacks some depth overall, there were just so many honest-to-God good tracks keep the sound alive.

Another stand out is Pleasure, the SKA hipsway of Green Donít Suit Me (a re-recording of the Peel session track) and the rollicking I Donít Want My Body (a re-recording of the track which had first impressed Peel when it appeared on a 1978 compilation).

OK, sure, the album didnít do much business, stalling at #69 - and a horrific road crash, in which their road manager died, killed their mojo and momentum - but they locked down their place in UK music history, thatís for sure.

Disc 2 rounds up all of the bands singles on Dakota Records most of which are making their debut on CD and thus includes the UK #17 chart hit Zambezi; plus five previously unreleased studio demos from the early 80s.

Disc Two: The Dakota Years
1. VI GELA GELA
2. NOBODY SINGS
3. VI GELA GELA (12Ē VERSION)
4. ZAMBEZI
5. WHO NEEDS YOU
6. DARABUKKAS
7. BOUFFANT BLUE
8. PINK ELEPHANTS
9. EASY COME, EASY GO
10. WASTE OF SPACE
11. EASY COME, EASY GO (EXTENDED VERSION)
12. THE PATHWAY DEMOS
13. BETTER OFF WITHOUT A JOB
14. BONE IDLE
15. FALLEN HERO
16. RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE SMILING

By the end of 1981, the original version of the band split with the township jive of the Vi Gela Gela single, which opens the second disc here subtitled The Dakota Years, their last official release.

Recorded at the famous Pathway Studios in London even though the album didnít make an impact, its sound most definitely resonates a fresh musical start for the band; and takes a big step away from their punk beginnings, funnily enough.

Also included here are five (5) bonus tracks - also from the same Pathway Studio demo sessions - and feature what to my mind is the definitive stand out cut, Bone Idle, which reshapes the band and their original sound into a hip hop / rap vibe.

The skank fest Fallen Hero is another great cut and also features a lovely middle complete with a big brass layer whilst the last cut of this disc, Smiling, is just as alt-fun danceable as you could ever hope for!

The third disc collects all of the bandís output for the Attrix label including the singles Yap Yap Yap and Jilly along with the recordings intended for their first album that were shelved due to the success of Tom Hark.

The bandís first ever studio recording, Shut Up, makes its debut on CD on this disc as does the demo version of Love Game, previously only issued on the rare Rock Against Racism Ė RARís Greatest Hits compilation.

Disc Three: The Attrix Years
1. TENSION
2. VIRGINITY
3. I DONíT WANT MY BODY
4. COLOURED MUSIC
5. JILLY
6. YAP YAP YAP
7. HAPPY FAMILIES
8. BOYFRIEND
9. LOVE GAME
10. GREEN DONíT SUIT ME
11. FIDDLING WHILE BABYLON BURNS
12. COFFEE
13. SOMETHING
14. TENSION
15. PLEASUREbr> 16. DO YOU?
17. GETTING BEATEN UP
18. SAXOPHONE
19. FINAL STRAW
20. LOVE GAME (RAR LP VERSION)
21. FEEL QUEER WHEN YOU AINíT HERE
22. THINGS COULD BE WORSE
23. SHUT UP

The third disc contains the The Attrix Years and does an immediate U-turn in their history and throttles the engine back to the very beginning of their career.

Featuring The Piranhasí cuts for the Vaultage 78 album I Donít Want My Body, Tension and Virginity, plus both sides of the bandís two singles for the label, the majority of the tracks on this third disc were already recorded and waiting for release long before that option was sadly scuppered by the label.

The songs, however, are really good, very vibrant, very earthy, combining a raw, but genuine musicianship together with a batch of intense, worldly lyrics, and you can just sense the vitality that the guys were trying to impart as they recorded it (the added pressure of any form of commerciality to abide by back then off their shoulders, of course.

The fourth and final disc contains three previously unreleased four track sessions for the BBCís John Peel show.

Disc Four: John Peel Sessions
[21/2/1979]
1. COLOURED MUSIC
2. JILLY
3. SAXOPHONE
4. CHEAP AND NASTY
[26/7/1979]
5. BOYFRIEND
6. GETTING BEATEN UP
7. YAP YAP YAP
8. HAPPY FAMILIES
[28/1/80]
9. ANYTHING
10. FINAL STRAW
11. SOMETHING
12. GREEN DONíT SUIT ME

The fourth and final disc brings together the three (3) John Peel Sessions that The Piranhas recorded in 1979/80. Like most items taped for Peel, these are clear, simple recordings that rival the officially released takes.

Personally, the JP Sessions that were done with Adam & The Antz back in the late í70s still resonate with me for their crystal clear, albeit taped quality (even today on vinyl).

The opening four songs are from February 1979 and includes a stunningly opulent rendition of Coloured Music, a wildly excellent Cheap And Nasty, and, of course, their infamous pop-punk ode Jilly rides again.

They went back later that year in July and brought forth another quartet of punk blasts, inclusive this time of two (2) of the bandís best loved numbers; both Boyfriend and Getting Beaten Up given sharp and zesty recountings.

The third and final session took place in late January 1980 and comes complete with another foursome of musical delights, perhaps nonemoreso than the funky reggae vibe of opener Anything and strolling on through, the succinct Green Donít Suit Me closer.

The CD booklet contains detailed liner notes by fellow Brightonian Phil Byford plus pictures of all related record sleeves and associated memorabilia.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

www.cherryred.co.uk





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